Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Dill-icious (Quick & Healthy Crispbreads)

Ahhh... the holidays. Between shopping, wrapping, cooking, planning, organising, cleaning, shovelling, discovering that you've got a big hole in the toe of your boot only after you step into a puddle of slush... sometimes it begins to feels like there aren't enough hours in a day. Many people also tend to pack on the pounds at this time of year, going from one gathering to the next, stuffing their faces with greasy fried appetizers and pounding back the cocktails. If you're nodding your head at these statements, beware: the combination of stress and bad eating is sure to leave you feeling bloated, nauseated, and all-around sluggish.



Stop! Breathe. Relax. Enter simplicity. Allow me to make your entertaining a little easier and a little healthier this year, with a few ideas for homemade, nutritious hors d'oeuvres that'll wow your guests, and please everyone - from the foodies to the health-conscious.

Instructions: Start with a box of Kavli Crispy Thin, FinnCrisp Rye Crisps (or any other crispbread that you like), top with spread of choice, and finish with a sprinkle of spice & a chopped herb. Pictured above: Dill, greek yogourt & cumin crisps. Super easy, super healthy, super fast.

Why crispbread? 
Ordinary store-bought crackers are often loaded with fats, oils and contain sodium levels that are off the charts. Don't even be fooled by the 'multi-grain' variety! Multi-grain often only means that they've taken your ordinary white-flour cracker and thrown in a few flax and sesame seeds - these additions do nothing to lower the high fat, salt or carb content, and the majority of the calories are coming from refined white flour. Now, I won't deny how delicious a Ritz cracker is, but that's the danger: at nearly 1g of fat EACH, a handful of these crackers contains the same amount of fat as an entire chocolate bar, and will fill you with over 200 calories - yet they will not leave you feeling full in the least.

And then there's crispbread: these thin topable delights generally have just a few simple ingredients and contain nothing artificial. They're often made from rye flour, which is much easier to digest than wheat and significantly more nutritious. 6 Kavli crispy thins offer up 4g of dietry fibre (to keep you feeling fuller longer), contain zero grams of fat, and have only 100 calories all together. Top them with a spoonful of non-fat greek yogourt (loaded with protein), a sprinkle of cumin and some chopped fresh dill, and you've got yourself a pretty, easy, and nutritious hors d'oeuvre. These also make an excellent light lunch or dinner, or a healthy midnight snack.

Other topping ideas
  • Start by spreading one tbsp of greek yogourt on your crackers, and top with any of the following combinations of veggies, fruit & herbs...
    • shredded beets & sea salt
    • black beans & cilantro
    • corn kernels, chopped tomato & cilantro
    • sliced olives & oregano
    • cucumber slices & dill
    • apple slices, cinnamon & nutmeg
    • lemon zest & honey
    • shredded carrot, ginger & cinnamon
    • slivered almonds & agave nectar

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Just Beet It (Roasted Beets with Dill)

Ahhh, December!

No, I don't ski. And no, I don't like the cold. I don't even celebrate Christmas (Well, not technically. Though the tree in my living room would beg to differ.) Typical joys of the season aside, I am personally excited by December because it means that roasting season is in full swing!

Now, many of you omnivores may be asking, well, what on earth can a silly vegetarian possibly be roasting... vegetables? You bet! But not just any stand alone boring veggies - for the sake of bored tastebuds everywhere, I like to be creative.



My inspiration for this dish came in three parts:
(A) I have a massive bunch of leftover dill in the fridge.
(B) I've been on a Greek yogourt kick obsession lately.
(C) Two weeks ago, I purchased ten pound bag of beets. My father claimed I'd never eat them all.

Challenge? Accepted.

Though the photo above has an eerie resemblance to raw meat in a dish, no animals were harmed in the making of these delectable roasted beets with yogourt and dill sauce. Simple. Pretty. Filling. Perfect dish to pair with whatever else your little roasting heart desires, or enjoy them all on their own.

Nutrition Facts: If you've never eaten beets before, don't fret! This is your chance to try them in all their glory. Much healthier than the sodium-laden pickled variety, roasted beets scream healthfood!  Not only are beets fibre rich, they are nutrient dense as well! The pigments that give beets their rich color are called betalains and are a unique phytonutrient.* They are known to provide antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and detoxification support. The consumption of beets is also known to be beneficial to the bloodstream due to their high iron content. What's more, this dish has an unexpected nutritional benefit: loads of protein from the greek yogourt - a whopping 10g per serving!

Well, what are you waiting for? Beet it!